By: Blonde Two
I know… last week’s Tuesday’s Ten was about food as well, but it is autumn and, no matter how hard a girl tries, thoughts at this time of year (and apparently this time of life) tend to turn to ways of feeding one’s face. Feeding the face however doesn’t have to be bad and I have been thinking recently about how to include more fresh food in my outdoor life (both walking and in the campervan). Blonde One is very good at this and will often sit munching on carrot sticks and mange tout while I am snacking into a cheap pasty. Here are my top ten vegetables for the outdoor life:
I know, a rather posh one to start off but asparagus is great, it takes up very little room in a van cupboard or rucksack and can be eaten raw or quickly cooked up with a bit of salt and pepper. Just in case you are interested, the strange smell urine gives off after eating asparagus is due to something called mercaptan, which is found in rotten eggs. Just in case you are curious… the strange urine smell is somewhat disguised if you choose to wee in howling Welsh winds.
I have included potatoes here not because I take them camping but because my very good friend Running Girl has been know to stuff a couple (along with some carrots) at the bottom of her rucksack for emergency rations whilst trekking across Scotland. Her theory is that they keep for ages… it is a good one but I haven’t tried it… yet!
Cherry tomatoes are super-useful but difficult to buy without plastic so I tend to opt for lager ones. Tomatoes make great sandwich fillings, can be thrown at people who annoy you and cook down wonderfully with a bit of garlic to make a pasta sauce (even if they are over-ripe and squashed).
My best advice with carrots would be to take the ready peeled and chopped into whichever shape you prefer. Carrot sticks are great for on-the-move munching or dipping into anything tasty you can find but the other great thing about carrots is that they are one of the things that can be easily added to a can of soup to improve and bulk it up.
Maybe not so good in a rucksack but mushrooms are great for camp cooking because they cook so quickly. I wouldn’t recommend foraging for your own mushrooms unless you are an expert or in the greengrocer’s but wild mushrooms can be delicious.
Garlic is really useful for warding off vampires on Dartmoor night navigations but it also has to ability to add that touch of flavour to otherwide dull food. I have already mentioned that this tasty number is great with tomatoes and pasta but garlic can also go into noodles, rice and mashed potato. If you put it into all of these I can guarantee that your lonely camping spot will remain undisturbed!
I draw the line at munching on a raw onion during a picnic but onions are a great addition to the camping vegetables list because they store for so long and can be added to just about anything. Chop them small and add them to tinned soup, fry them to eat with those rather dodgy-looking frankfurters or boil them up with some noodles.
Spinach doesn’t keep so well so it is usually an ‘eat first’ item. However, it does make a great substitute for salad in sandwiches, tastes great in an omelette and can add much-needed green vitamins to all manner of soups and pasta sauces. My recommendation would be to wash your spinach thoroughly as it does have a habit of holding onto grit. However, attempting this washing in a fast-flowing river may result in a few lost leaves.
Courgettes are not everybody’s favourite vegetable but they keep far better than their soggy cucumber cousins and, sliced thinly, can be used in sandwiches as well as with tomatoes and onions for a ratatouille.
10. Potato crisps
There needs, I feel, to be a debate as to whether or not a potato that has been turned into a crisp is still a vegetable. These crunchy delights are rubbish in soup, in pasta sauce or with noodles but make a most excellent first breakfast!